Home prices went up nearly 25% in 2021 and they keep climbing in 2022. Many renters and first-time home buyers are being priced out of the market. And it is becoming harder and harder for our kids to afford living in the towns where they grew up. Statewide, 3 in 10 low-income people are homeless or pay more than half their income for rent. Why is this happening? There are many contributing factors, but ultimately it comes down to poorly managed growth. We can do much better.
As a member of the Utah legislature I will work to
1. Simplify and harmonize our zoning codes. This would provide more consistency and flexibility in our housing supply, decrease construction costs, and encourage more competition in the building and remodeling sectors.
2. Provide support for first-time and low-income home buyers. Home ownership is one of the most important ways we can provide financial stability for Utah families. Utah's existing programs need to be expanded and made more accessible.
3. Enable people to make better use of the existing home inventory. Building new homes is slow and costly and continues to consume valuable open space. We need to make it easier for individuals to rent out part of their home and to develop public/private partnerships for affordable housing.
4. Track and publish each city's progress towards meeting housing goals. Cities need to be clear and transparent about how they are working to address our housing crisis and we need to give citizens the tools to hold them accountable.
5. Provide greater incentives for energy efficiency in new construction and renovations so we can keep energy demand and costs down in the long-term.
There are plenty of other opinions on how to fix our housing situation and I'm always open to hearing other solutions. What do bad solutions to our housing crisis look like? Generally, bad solutions have a strong political agenda and/or they are schemes that make developers a lot of money and leave homeowners or renters with long-term problems. For example, I would oppose efforts to sell off federal land to support suburban sprawl...that just sets us up for bigger problems down the road. Having enough land is not the problem. I would also oppose the $6 billion boondoggle to hand over Utah Lake to private developers to dredge the lake and build housing on artificial islands. Clearly there are better, and much more affordable and effective ways to increase the housing supply.